Two Ringling College Interior Design Students Win 2012 Donghia Scholarships

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Ringling College Interior Design students Ronel Constantin and Rianna Straw perpetuate the Ringling legacy winning two Donghia Scholarship Awards - Since the inception of the Donghia Award Program in 2001, a Ringling student has won an award each year with the exception of one and two Ringling students have won in the same year three times.

Ringling College Interior Design students and 2012 Donghia Scholarship Winners Rianna Straw (L) and Ronel Constantin

Their unique organic approaches to space design were innovative and bode well for their future success in interior design

Ringling College of Art and Design Interior Design students Ronel Constantin and Rianna Straw have been chosen as two of the recipients of a scholarship award for $30,000 each from the Angelo Donghia Foundation. The award is to be applied toward senior year tuition, board and maintenance, books and materials. Ronel and Rianna were chosen out of over 200 competitors and won two of the only 13 Donghia scholarships awarded. Since the inception of the Donghia Student Scholarship Award Program in 2001, a Ringling student has won an award each year with the exception of one. On three occasions, two Ringling students have won prizes in the same year.

The Angelo Donghia Foundation, Inc. was established by the late Angelo Donghia, an internationally recognized interior design icon and source of inspiration to the design world. According to Jerrold M. Sonet, spokesperson for the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, “Our goal is to assist this new generation of gifted designers so that they have the necessary financial support to further their education, their design awareness and their career opportunities.” The Donghia Award benefits deserving students entering his or her last year in a Baccalaureate Degree program. The competition is open to students of interior design at accredited University, College or Schools.

“We are excited to have Rianna and Ronel’s work recognized and rewarded at this point in their lives – where it can make the most impact on the successful completion of their degree and subsequent launch into their career,” said Norman Hervieux, Interior Design Department Head at the Ringling College of Art and Design. “Their unique organic approaches to space design were innovative and bode well for their future success in interior design.”

This is a national design competition where two students from eligible accredited design programs in the United States and Canada are nominated by their faculty. Each nominee submits a portfolio of their work consisting of either one residential or one non-residential design. Students are encouraged to submit drawings that show a comprehensive spatial approach to their design solutions. Additionally the students are encouraged to show work that shows a range of student’s skills such as 3-D computer renderings along with hand renderings as well as hand drawn process or concept sketches where appropriate. Student submissions were juried on merit basis by judges composed of leading interior designers, press and educators.

Rianna Straw’s project was a design proposal for Hostelling International, Inc. for a new type of hostel that reflects the evolution of the hostel experience to include more than the youthful traveler. Her designs maximized ways guests may interact with the local population and culture as well as ways guests may interact with fellow travelers. The new hostel will be influenced by characteristics of the locale in which it is situated. The design concept for the Naranja Boutique Hotel located in Miami, Florida is one of color and texture as seen in a wide variety of vividly colored citrus and berries made possible by the extraordinary sunlight of Florida. When mixed together the colors and textures mimic the wide variety of languages and cultures found amongst the many travelers at the Naranja Boutique Hotel.

Furnishings, color palettes, shapes and spatial organization are informed by the variations found in fruits and berries. Places of gathering; entrances, sleeping, conversation and dining are marked with wedge-shaped forms with all segments coming together in the middle. The internal structure of a citrus slice inspired the arrangements of sleeping areas; a room within a room. The variety of seating experiences in the public spaces are similar to the variety of flavors found in a mix of citrus and berries - counter stools, banquette dining, banquette lounging, two-top tables and task chairs. These seating arrangements promote interaction with fellow travelers, local population and far away internet connections. Furniture and accessory shapes are often literal interpretations of fruit-like forms as found with the ‘peel chair’, the ‘slice chair’ as well as the ‘carambola’ (star fruit) light fixture. The color palettes of fabrics are paired with corresponding patterns: orange and brown citrus colors with wedge patterns and red and blue berry colors with round patterns. A basket weave pattern on the wall treatment of the internet area represents the interaction of cultures. Guest accommodations balance issues of privacy and security along with the desirability of interaction with fellow travelers. Some ADA sleeping spaces are provided.

Ronel Constantin’s project and concept was inspired by Brazil, the Amazon forest and the delicate Victoria Lily. This flower is the main concept behind his hostel design. He found the flower very intriguing and studied it’s characteristic to see how he could apply those attributes into an interior space. The overall organization of public and private spaces is similar the how the lily floats in water. The principle decorative design elements of the ground floor public spaces reflect how a water lily would be seen from beneath the surface of the water.

The principle design elements of the second floor guest spaces reflect how a lily would sit on the surface of the water. On the ground floor veins and ribs of the lily leaf floating above inspired the sculptural lattice funnel-shape in the center of the bar. The funnel houses color kinetic up lighting creating shadow play on the ceilings of the restaurant called Lagos which is the Portuguese word for lake. On the upper floors, with hostel-style sleeping experiences, the aesthetic language is informed by the lily flower floating on the surface of the pond below. The flower closes at night to form a bud. The principle of contrast mimics the wide range of travelers’ experiences in Brazil from the botanical wonders of the forest and sea by day to the cultural and entertainment highlights of the city by night.

Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering the Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 13 disciplines: Advertising Design, Computer Animation, Digital Film-making, Fine Arts, Game Art & Design, Graphic & Interactive Communication, Illustration, Interior Design, Motion Design, Painting, Photography & Digital Imaging, Printmaking, and Sculpture, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Business of Art & Design. Located in Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the picturesque 48-acre campus now includes more than 110 buildings, and enrolls 1,368 students from 42 states and 53 countries. It is recognized as being among the best and most innovative visual arts colleges in the United States as well as a leader in the use of technology in the arts.

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Christine Meeker Lange
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